See also...

If you are interested in birds, you may also like to read what's on our Birds on Magog Down page.

Bird Club - come and join us!

If you have never given birdwatching a try do come along on the first Saturday of the month (meeting in the car park at 8am from April to October; slightly later at 8.30 am from November to March).

Membership is very informal–– just turn up and enjoy the birding walk. It is a healthy way of getting fresh air and exercise, and de-stressing while learning about birds.

We welcome new members of any age from beginners to life-time bird watchers. Sorry, no dogs

skylark_garth_cropped_250Photo: Skylark (Alauda arvensis) © Garth Peacock 2015

Long-term Survey of Breeding Birds

In February 2012, Bryan Davies and Robin Cox of Cambridgeshire Bird Club proposed a long term breeding bird survey on Magog Down.

Full reports of the first six years of this survey can be found here:

2017 Report

2016 Report

2015 Report

2014 Report

2013 Report

2012 Report

Bird reports 2016 prev  :  next

Report of Stapleford Bird Club - September 2016

From the outset on Saturday 3rd September, we were treated to glorious blue skies with little wind and the walk over the Down was uplifting even before adding in the birds, butterflies and plants.  We have had four new members recently, and the group swelled to ten that morning.  Welcome to John, Jill, Jeremy and Margaret.

At the car park, migrant warblers were feeding in the hedgerows, a calling Blackcap being particularly conspicuous though by sound only.  The call of another warbler posed an identification problem, as its rapid call was more like that of a Lesser Whitethroat than a Blackcap.  Sometimes we have to accept that birds cannot always be identified on sound alone.  A Grey Heron, Green Woodpecker and a Swallow flew over, a Robin called from a hedge, and a Goldfinch tinkled as it called from a tree-top.  We are not in the main period of thrush migration yet, so the two Blackbirds that were feeding in the picnic area were probably residents.  A singing Woodpigeon reinforced the fact that this species may breed in any month, though the peak month for fledging is August.  As the walk progressed we became more reliant on bird calls to identify many birds:  in their moulting phase some birds are reluctant to reveal themselves, also birds would be busily feeding and hidden in the leaf canopy or in ground cover.  In Magog Wood a Chiffchaff was calling softly, and suddenly the air seemed full of dancing Long-tailed Tits as a flock flew in.

Drifts of Field Scabious adorned parts of the North Down and clumps of flowering Wild Marjoram were widespread.  Most flowers were fading, the main show of flowers being two to three weeks earlier than in 2015.   Butterflies were everywhere, and one striking species was the Comma, with its distinctive ragged edge to the wing (apparently this enables the butterfly to resemble a fallen leaf).  This was once rare but has made a spectacular comeback since the 1960s.

A small group of Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew over, and at Feoffee’s Field three Whitethroats were flitting around the outer hedge.  A Kestrel called loudly from within Little Trees Hill, where was heard another Chiffchaff, and saw a Magpie and Great Tit.  Villedomer Wood had Chaffinch, Robin, Magpie, Great Tit and Blue Tit.  Moving along the footpath alongside the arable fields, the peripheral hedgerow had a Wren and Whitethroat but best of all was a female adult Yellowhammer with a beakful of insects, so a nest with hungry youngsters had to be nearby.  Fifty corvids – mostly Jackdaws and Rooks with some Carrion Crows  – flew from the field of wheat stubble towards Feoffee’s.  Vestey Wood and the more mature woodland held various birds including a screaming Jay.  A skulking Dunnock was the final species to be noted.

Overall, 24 bird species were confirmed.

Mike Foley

Comparison of September sightings between 2013 and 2016 is shown in this table.


Birds on Magog Down

We publish the monthly reports of Stapleford Bird club here, plus other occasional bird-related articles; hot links in each report will take you to the RSPB information page for each bird spotted.

The gallery below shows a random six of the birds that have been seen on Magog Down.

  • Jackdaw.jpg
  • Goldcrest.jpg
  • Dunnock.jpg
  • Pied wagtail.jpg
  • Gull.jpg
  • Great tit.jpg